Faith comes in many forms; and if truth be told, it’s not something I’d ever given much thought to. That is, until last December, when Brooke Hirsch, my wife, best friend and mother of our three daughters, Olivia (10), Madison (8) and Emme (4), powered through the weekend with a headache that just wouldn’t go away. Kids’ activities, Christmas shopping and holiday parties be damned, Brooke had things to do and she wasn’t about to let a headache slow her down.
Monday morning arrived; and again, not wanting to let anyone down, she got ready for work – splitting headache and all. The only reason I had any idea she still wasn’t feeling well was that she had chosen to not go to boot camp or running club that morning, something she may have skipped only three times in the past five years!
Shortly after arriving at work, she collapsed and had a seizure. She was rushed to the hospital where doctors found a golf ball-sized mass in her front temporal lobe, directly behind her left eye. And that’s when the idea of this thing called “Faith” kicked in.
From the minute Dr. Eric Leuthardt and his extraordinary team at WUSM performed a craniotomy to remove the tumor…to the more than a week we had to wait to learn the devastating diagnosis and prognosis for someone with a Grade 4 Glioblastoma…to the first round of radiation, chemotherapy and their respective side effects…to the moment we arrived here this morning and every minute in between, Brooke has demonstrated the kind of Faith that teaches, inspires – and quite frankly – keeps those of us who know and love her, going.
Despite a brief setback requiring three days in the ICU in mid-February, Brooke hasn’t missed a beat: As a family, we spent an unforgettable week together at Disney. As a couple, she and I hit LA for a taping of Dancing with the Stars and a special backstage visit with Michael Bublé. She’s here to run this morning’s race. She’s taking the girls to New Jersey in a couple of weeks. And she looks forward to getting them ready for school in the fall. That’s because Brooke has plans…that’s because she has Faith.
Brooke is stronger, braver and more beautiful than the day I met her at The University of Miami 20 years ago. And I’m not just saying that because she’s my wife. All you have to do is ask any one of the countless family, friends and acquaintances who have so generously and selflessly stood by our sides as we navigate through our new normal. People don’t do that for just anyone. They do that for someone who’s special; for someone who can look adversity in the eye and continue doing what they’ve always done with an inexplicable sense of grace and determination we’re not sure we could muster if we were in her shoes.
Brooke, you’re amazing. We love you and we thank you for teaching us what Faith is all about.
* December 28, 2013 we began to honor the memory of Brooke